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February 17, 2017

Zippy Duvall Encouraged by Trump's Trade Meetings

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

Farmers and industry leaders alike have spent the past few months nervous about President Trump’s impending trade policies. Specifically, they worry about his desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade agreements the U.S. is currently participating in. While it’s still unclear what will come of the President’s desire for renegotiation, Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, says he’s encouraged to see the President having meetings with other world leaders on trade.

“I’m excited to see him meeting with Canada, you know trade had to come up in that conversation,” Duvall told U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan.

Although the President is also considering bilateral trade agreements, Duvall thinks he deserves time to sort out the best solutions. Duvall is also hoping added time will allow confirmation of Gov. Perdue as the Secretary of Agriculture before any trade agreement revisions are definitive. 

“I think we need to give this President some time and get secretary of agriculture Gov. Perdue in place,” he says. “He’s going to be a strong voice for us in the cabinet about trade.”

Recently a legislator in Mexico introduced a proposal that would keep U.S. corn from being exported to our southern neighbor. Duvall says that’s nothing more than a short-term problem. 

“Nobody in the world can grow [corn], move it and get it to other areas of the world like America can,” he says.

While Duvall says NAFTA has been good for agriculture, he’s not opposed to President Trump considering a renegotiation of that decades-old deal.  

“Outside of agriculture, I’m sure there are parts of that trade agreement that need to be looked at and inside of agriculture [too], but it’s been really good for us,” he says. “You know, it’s old. Let’s look at it and see if there’s any fixes to it and give this President a chance to have a fair deal for everyone.”